Campus / New Professors / News / September 21, 2011

New professor profile: Daniel Peterson

As the newest addition to the Knox psychology department, Daniel Peterson of North Carolina is most worried, not for the Midwestern winter, but that he will not be able to watch televised broadcasts of Carolina Blue basketball games. However, he is finding Knox to be a very supportive and academically inspired environment.

The Knox Student (TKS): How did you become interested in psychology?

Daniel Peterson (DP): That’s a good question. When I was a freshman at Carolina, I was a business major. I was convinced I was going to make a ton of money, and that’s what was going to make me happy. And then I realized that I wasn’t really interested in anything related to business at all. I was taking psych classes because I found them interesting, and that was kind of how I was balancing my sanity.

I was taking a cognitive psychology class with this professor who made the content, at least to me, really interesting and got me really excited about not only what psychology was, but what research was. That, I think, was the first time I started getting really interested. After a little while, I worked up the courage to ask him about the research that he did in particular, and so I started volunteering in his lab doing some research. I’d say that was really the beginning of my interests within psychology.

TKS: What attracted you to Knox?

DP: What really drove me here was a couple of different things. One, I felt that the quality of the undergraduates here was excellent, which was something that I was hoping for, not necessarily expecting, but hoping for.

Also, it seemed like a really supportive environment for me and my interests. Not only teaching, but I actually really enjoy and hope to continue doing my line of research, and the college in general and the department, specifically, seemed really supportive in terms of helping me continue on in that path. I think both of those factors were really big in my deciding to come here.

TKS: What are you researching, in particular?

DP: I study human memory, so just about everything that I do is related to understanding more about why we remember what we do and why we forget what we do, and trying to get a better theoretical understanding of how the basic processes work.

TKS: Since you research memory, what is your favorite college memory?

DP: Oh, this is easy. So, I’m a huge Carolina basketball fan, and in 2005, we won the National Championship.

When we won, we beat the University of Illinois. If you know anything about Chapel Hill and its culture, it was as big of a deal as it possibly could be, and within five minutes, there were about 20,000 people on Franklin Street, and I was there. That was probably, if we’re going to have a family-friendly favorite memory, my favorite college memory, no question.

TKS: Having grown up in North Carolina, how do you like the Midwest?

DP: It’s different. (laughs) I’m definitely not used to the flatness … but it’s not too bad. If you were to come back and interview me in January, maybe I would have some other things to say.

One of my big concerns moving here, not Galesburg, per se, but the Midwest, is that the Carolina games are not going to be televised here, and I might have to live without watching them.

I’ve been told I need to go to Buffalo Wild Wings, and that they’ll probably have some games, but when we’ll play some really random school in the middle of nowhere, I need to watch that game too. Those are typically not televised, except for locally. I’m going to have to find some way to stream it online or something. It’s going to be one of my projects this fall when that becomes more relevant.

Mary Kate Murray

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